Sunday, December 23, 2012

Les Misérables (2012) Movie Review

I've known about Les Misérables ever since the musical play in 1987 at Broadway but had never known about the storyline until I watched this musical movie.

Les Misérables tells of a tale starting off with a convict who's served his time for stealing bread and is now free to go on the condition that he must never skip parole. Otherwise, he would be hunted down and brought back to imprisonment again.

The convict, strong as an ox, is Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman), who finds it difficult to get on with life when people know his an ex-convict and shuns him. One night, he was received into a chapel to shelter from the harsh weather and were given proper food and a place to rest by the priest. But Jean Valjean took to flight in the middle of the night taking along silvers of items in the chapel with him. He was caught by police and were brought back to the chapel in the morning but the priest acknowledge of his lie that the items were given to him and sent him along his way.

Jean Valjean was puzzled by this kindness shown by the priest but remembered the words of the priest that he were to take the items on the condition of starting a brand new life for himself as an honest man. Moved with the words, Jean Valjean then proceeded to change himself for the better but skipped parole after out of habit stole some coins which was reported to the authorities.

Years later, Jean Valjean had became the mayor of a town and is the wealthy owner of a factory who employs many people under a different alias to hide his true identity. There in the town, a Jean Valjean saw a man who's pinned down by a cart and proceeded to lift it up so that the man may free himself. Inspector Javert (the one who know Jean Valjean and is hunting for him) who were there to witness it and became suspicious that he was indeed Jean Valjean.

The story then shifts focus on Anne Hathaway's character, Fantine, who were fired from Jean Valjean's factory without his knowledge due to Fantine having a child out of wedlock. Fantine had to take to the streets and started to sell her hair and teeth and prostitute herself in order to supply money to the carers of her child unknown that her child were mistreated and the ridiculous demand for money were merely the greedy scheme of the carers, Thénardiers the innkeepers.

One night she was harassed by a man and attacked the man to defend herself. The man proceeded to report it to Inspector Javert who were about to arrest Fantine but just so happens Jean Valjean passed by and intervened. He learned that he was partly responsible for Fantine's ill fate since she was fired from his factory and proceeded to take Fantine to a hospital to nurse her back to health.

Inspector Javert later approached Jean Valjean to confess to him that he had wrongly reported him as the convict who skipped parole and urge him to press charges since the authorities had already a man in custody who seemed to be the real Jean Valjean. Knowing this fact, Jean Valjean grew troubled and couldn't stay silent to let an innocent man be tried and thus decided to come forward to the court to clear the man's name.

After that, Jean Valjean returned to the hospital to see Fantine dying and promised her that he will take her child, Cosette, in. Inspector Javert too went to the hospital to confront Jean Valjean now knowing his true identity to arrest him. But Jean Valjean escaped and made his way to the Thénardiers to buy off Cosette to take care of her. Jean Valjean and Cosette then proceeded to lead a life of a running fugitive.

Years later, just before the uprising of a civil unrest, there Marius Pontmercy, one of the active members of the anti-Orléanist movement first laid eyes on Cosette who's now a young lady and fell in love with her. The feeling was mutual when Cosette first met Marius at her house after Éponine (daughter of the Thénardiers) managed to find out Cosette's location and told Marius since Éponine has a crush on Marius. But due to the circumstances, Jean Valjean and Cosette had to move again (with Cosette still not knowing her father's side of the story) and was quite torn that Cosette had to depart from Marius.

Jean Valjean later found out the relationship between Cosette and Marius and knowing about the revolution which could end Marius life, Jean Valjean proceeded to join in the revolution to find Marius and try to keep him safe.

 This is a musical show and unlike the show Pitch Perfect and Moulin Rouge, this one tend to tell the tale and conversations through the songs throughout the entire movie, so you'll merely hear them sing. This may not be some people's cup of tea. Also, unlike other musical movies who had really catchy songs and great singers in it, the songs in this movie are more of a storytelling than to be a great hit and the singers are more of actors than great singers (unlike the surprise exception of Ewan McGregor's hidden singing talent in Moulin Rouge). If you don't mind that, like me, it's actually a surprisingly interesting movie. I especially loved how Anne Hathaway conveyed the feelings in the songs although her appearance on screen wasn't much. I would rate this movie 3.5 stars out of 5.


Reanaclaire said...

Hello Kevin..thanks for coming by my blog.. Merry Christmas!

Kelvin -KtheBlogger- Tan said...

Merry Christmas to you too.

Happy walker said...

thanks for the review~ Merry Christmas ~ Have a nice day~ =)

Kelvin -KtheBlogger- Tan said...

Merry Christmas to you too. :)